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Probate & Administration of Decedent’s Estates

Probate is the court-supervised process for the administration of a person's estate after they have died. The purpose of probate is to make sure that the deceased person's debts and taxes are paid, and that their remaining assets are transferred to their "beneficiaries" if there is a Will, or to their "heirs" if there is no Will. Where a deceased person left real estate in more than one state or foreign jurisdiction, it is sometime necessary to conduct probate procedures wherever the person left real property.

Generally, probate is required whenever a person dies with assets that are titled in the deceased person's name, and which do not automatically pass to a survivor. Examples of property ownership that ordinarily do pass to a survivor, without probate, include where the asset is titled in "joint tenancy" or "joint tenancy with right of survivorship." A relatively new form of ownership, which will also avoid probate, available only to married couples in both Nevada and California is "community property with right of survivorship." Also, assets for which a valid beneficiary designation is in effect, as under a life insurance policy, annuity, IRA, 401(k) or other retirement plan, will also avoid probate.

There are also many alternatives to probate available for the transfer of a deceased person's assets. These alternatives vary depending on the value and the character of the assets and where they are physically located.

If you believe a probate may be required, or if you want to explore the availability of alternatives to probate, please contact us. We provide complete probate services for clients throughout Nevada and California.